Picking up the Phone?
NO, NO, NO, NO,NO AND NO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whoever coined this phrase and/or thought it would be a good message to get across to those that need help obviously never had to “pick up the phone”. It is far from easy to do. From personal experience, picking up the phone and calling to get help was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life. And, the second call to tell my wife that I called to get help was even harder than the first phone call I made.
There are probably a whole bunch of psychological terms or concepts that explain this but here is my simplistic reasoning. For me, making the call to get help was the first step in acknowledging that there was something wrong. All those little signs had finally come to a head and there was no choice left to make. I had to call for help before things got to far away from me. (I firmly believe that if I didn’t call when I did, I would have set myself up to go down a very dark and destructive path to get the help.) There was no way around it, I was broken and needed to get fixed for myself and my family. There was no other option for me. Even though I knew making the call was the right thing to do, it also tore me up as I was admitting to the world that things were okay…….
Think of that for a second. Making the call means that you know that things aren’t right. Even more so, the next call was harder because I was telling my wife and family that I was broken. So, I just admitted to myself that things weren’t ok and now I was doing it to the person that was closets to me. Even in the best of situations it is hard for anyone to admit that they were wrong or that something isn’t right. Picture doing it with you thoughts and mind firmly entrenched in the perfect storm known as PTSD. It is not easy. Nobody wants to be seen as broken.
When you add to it the fact that almost every first responder is a type A personality, it gets worse. As a first responder, admitting that you need help is like a figurative death sentence. We have all seen what happens to co-workers that go sick and don’t want to have the same thing happen. We will push it down and carry on. I have heard the famous words, “Mountie Up” being said to others more than once in my career. It’s not easy to call for help as you don’t want to be “one of those members”.
But the bottom line is that even though making the call isn’t easy, you still have to make it. It will probably be the hardest thing that you ever do but you will be glad you did, at some point. Remember my equation: PTSD + Silence = Death. You have to make the call for help in order to change the equation:
PTSD + Talking = LIVING.
That has a better ring to it.
If you are in a bad spot or heading down a dark path, stop what you are doing and tell someone, anyone. Call a crisis line or talk to a friend, coworker or family. Hell, email me if you want just CHANGE THE EQUATION.